Bahrain in ‘tough but exciting’ Olympic group | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain in ‘tough but exciting’ Olympic group

TDT | Manama

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Bahrain have been given a mammoth task at the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer, having been drawn yesterday in a “tough but exciting” Group B for their historic Olympics debut.

The draw was held virtually at the International Handball Federation (IHF) head office in Basil, Switzerland.

For the competition’s preliminary stage, Bahrain will be playing against Egypt, Portugal, hosts Japan, world championship silver-medallists Sweden, and reigning world and Olympic champions Denmark.

Group A consists of Argentina, Spain, Germany, France, Norway and Brazil. National team head coach Aron Kristjansson, who guided the Bahrainis to their first-ever Olympic berth, said he is looking forward to the “interesting challenge” ahead. “The Olympics is the biggest sport event in the world, and it is the most difficult handball tournament with 12 really good teams; so, of course the group is tough but exciting,” Kristjansson said according to the Bahrain Handball Association.

“We have two of the best teams in the world, Denmark and Sweden, then you have really strong teams as Portugal, Egypt and Japan, which has the home advantage and have developed really well.

“We are looking forward to this interesting challenge.” Denmark men’s national team coach Nikolaj Jacobsen commented: “It is a good draw for us, we have good chances to progress to the quarter-finals. However, the things will get tougher, because the opponents there, if we progress, will be very difficult.

“We met several of our opponents at Egypt 2021 and that gives us better opportunities to prepare for this summer’s matches. The clashes against Sweden and Egypt will be very tough, while Portugal is probably one of the most exciting national teams in the world right now.

It will be incredibly exciting, and we look forward to traveling to Japan.”

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Sweden men’s national team coach Glenn Solberg said: “It is very difficult to speculate before the games about what would make a good or bad draw. Denmark are the world champions, Egypt had a very good IHF Men’s World Championship and had good games against both us and Denmark.

We know that Portugal won against us by a tengoal margin at the EHF EURO we hosted in 2020, so they are also a tough team to play against. Our first goal is to go to the quarterfinals and I think we have good chances for that, if we succeed we will be tough whoever we meet.”

The men’s handball tournament at the Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place between July 24 and August 8. The Bahrainis open their tournament campaign against Sweden on day one. They then take on Portugal on July 26, and then face Denmark two days later. Bahrain then square off with fellow-Asian side Japan on July 30, before completing their preliminaries schedule against Egypt on August 1.

The Bahrainis booked their berth at the Tokyo Games after winning the Men’s Asian Qualification Tournament held in Doha in October of 2019, defeating South Korea in the final.

Preliminary round schedule

Sat 24 July          Fri 30 July                     

NOR vs BRA          FRA vs ES

FRA vs ARG          GER vs NOR

GER vs ESP          ARG vs BRA

DEN vs JPN          SWE vs EGY

SWE vs BRN        POR vs DEN

POR vs EGY         BRN vs JPN

Mon 26 July       Sun 1 August

BRA vs FRA         ESP vs ARG

ESP vs NOR        GER vs BRA

ARG vs GER        NOR vs FRA

JPN vs SWE        EGY vs BRN

EGY vs DEN        POR vs JPN

BRN vs POR        DEN vs SWE

Wed 28 July      Quarter-Finals:

NOR vs ARG        Tue 3 August

FRA vs GER         Semi-Finals:

BRA vs ESP         Thu 5 August

DEN vs BRN        Bronze/Gold:

SWE vs POR        Sat 7 August

JPN vs EGY